Apollo may have liver cancer....or maybe not

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Patron
Here's what happened, and read the whole thing because I need advice:

Monday Apollo started vomiting his food. He was otherwise perky and normal, so I didn't think too much about it.

Tuesday he was vomiting to the point of bringing up empty-tummy foam and he was lethargic - clearly not feeling well. So I removed his water for 5-6 hours and food for 24 hours.

Wednesday he ate a little chicken and rice for breakfast at 7am, and around noon barfed it back up. Now it's gone on too long and my Dr. Mom skills are tapped out, so I called the vet and took him into doggie urgent care.

They took his temp (normal), then the vet came in and said they were going to do some blood work. She didn't examine Apollo or even really look at him. Tech comes in and takes him off to get blood. Brought him back, and a few minutes later the vet reappears and says his white count is high and his liver enzymes are enormously high, they're going to do another blood test to make sure. She said he's also slightly dehydrated and she wants to inject him with something to re-hydrate him.

So off he goes to get more blood taken and re-hydrate. After the tech brings him back, the vet shows up and says he appears to have liver cancer but she won't know for sure unless she opens him up to take a look. She wants to hospitalize him (to the tune of $1200/day) to monitor his behavior, then do exploratory surgery. By this time I'm upset and crying, I told her I can't justify spending upwards of $10,000 on a 13 year old dog with no guarantees of success.

She said fine, they'll treat the symptoms (vomiting and infection) with medication and see where it goes from there. So Apollo is on an anti-emetic and amoxicillin.

The more I thought about this exchange the more suspicious I became because I hate doctors anyway, and especially vets because so many of them prey on the owner's emotions to rack up big fees. I'm trying to be realistic and not let that come into play, because I want what's best for Apollo but again, I can't justify laying down $10k for them to "explore".

So what I'm going to do is run the course of the meds and see if that doesn't do the trick. If it does, yay. If it doesn't, then that's that. If he does have liver cancer there's nothing to be done about it anyway, and if he doesn't that means the vet lied to me. Either way, I think I'm done with them and will be looking for another vet.

Thoughts? Advice?
 

Dakota

~~~~~~~
Thoughts? Advice?

Ugh - sorry he isn't feeling well and I really have no advice. :huggy:

No matter what happens, Apollo has lived an amazing life - not all dogs get to travel, as he has, and have his owner around so much. I also agree at 13, I would not bite big vet bills at this point.

They didn't mention if this could be pancreatitis?

My 16 year old JRT has had a few episodes and her liver enzymes always skyrocket. We have to ensure she drinks lot of water, chicken, rice, pumpkin and within a week she feels better. She had her first incident when she was 12-13 years old.

Now we limit her snacks - in fact, we are pretty strict with giving her people food now.
 

spr1975wshs

Mostly settled in...
PREMO Member
Ad Free Experience
Patron
Find more of a country vet, who will actually look at and SEE Apollo.

We've lost 3 of our cats to cancer over the years (2 to intestinal lymphoma and 1 to a sublingual sarcoma).
The vets tested and diagnosed properly, but outside of heroic measures, only were able to offer palliative care, which did ease the girls into a least worst ending after several more pretty good months.
 

Dakota

~~~~~~~
My husband just corrected me and said that although she had pancreatitis - he thought the anti-Inflammatory was the cause of the increased liver enzymes. It all was around the same time.
 

black dog

Free America
PREMO Member
Folks call me harsh, I call myself responable.
if any of my pets or animals are suffering and quality of life for it is gone, the responsibility lies on the owner to put the pet/animal to sleep.
I also have a dollar amount with an animials well being. At that age 1,200 a day is way past what I would consider spending.
Apollo is now into his fourth day, do him a favor and give him a hug and let the vet put him to sleep.

Sorry its no fun.
Edit... Try to remember, is one trying to keep a pet alive for the pets sake or the owners sake.
 

Kyle

Let's Go Brandon!
PREMO Member
When our last Malamute Emma was about 14-1/2 she got diagnosed with cancer.

We opted for meds to ease any pain, plenty of attention, exercise, play, good food, treats etc. There was little point in doing much else.

As it progressed she lost weight, tried to give her plenty to eat, more calorie packed foods and treats etc. and when she finally started losing appetite and her weight started dropping faster, energy gone and no longer the happy girl she'd been, it was apparent I had to pick a day.

I opted to have the vet come to the house so she was in a familiar, comfortable place to pass.

I really didn't see much point in pursuing some miserable chemo-type or radiation treatments, as there is no way to explain to the poor animal that its really supposed to help them.
 

ontheriver

Well-Known Member
I have so many stories to tell about all kinds of animals I have adored during my life. I'll spare you.
Vets will absolutely play you for money. I believe at some point they lose touch with their emotions, because they have to, to do their job. (I always thought that about lawyers too)

Apollo has had an amazing life with you. At some point you have to realize that you can extend their life, but's it's more about you wanting to keep them... you can't. LOVE him, ADORE him and keep him comfortable as much as you can.

With my Cody, it was devastating. But, if I had put him through things that wouldn't make him young again, I would have been doing it for me, ... not him.

:huggy::huggy::huggy::huggy::huggy:
 
Last edited:

Christy

b*tch rocket
I would find a non-emergency vet to handle this. Friend of mine's dog was diagnosed with liver cancer and given maybe 6 months. It has been 3 years. She quit feeding her dog kibble and makes her food. She wasn't expecting her to live longer than the 6 months, but is pleasantly surprised that she is. The main thing is to keep Apollo comfortable, a regular vet can help with that. I would not sign on to any invasive surgeries. Poor little thing should live out the remainder of his days in the least amount of pain and trauma as possible.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Patron
Folks call me harsh, I call myself responable.
if any of my pets or animals are suffering and quality of life for it is gone, the responsibility lies on the owner to put the pet/animal to sleep.
I also have a dollar amount with an animials well being. At that age 1,200 a day is way past what I would consider spending.
Apollo is now into his fourth day, do him a favor and give him a hug and let the vet put him to sleep.

Sorry its no fun.
Edit... Try to remember, is one trying to keep a pet alive for the pets sake or the owners sake.
I agree with this and after sobbing most of yesterday I'm at peace with it if that's the way it goes. But I also don't want to be premature because once he's euthanized all second-guessing is over. He has amoxicillin for 10 days. If he doesn't show improvement in the next couple of days, I'll take him to another vet for a second opinion and make the decision from there.

He doesn't appear to be in pain, this morning he ate some boiled chicken and walked around a bit wagging his tail before he went back to napping.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Patron
I would find a non-emergency vet to handle this. Friend of mine's dog was diagnosed with liver cancer and given maybe 6 months. It has been 3 years. She quit feeding her dog kibble and makes her food. She wasn't expecting her to live longer than the 6 months, but is pleasantly surprised that she is. The main thing is to keep Apollo comfortable, a regular vet can help with that. I would not sign on to any invasive surgeries. Poor little thing should live out the remainder of his days in the least amount of pain and trauma as possible.
Was the dog just being kept alive or was she able to resume her normal life, give or take? Because if Apollo can resume his life for the most part I'm happy to make his food and do what needs to be done. But if he's just going to be kept alive - what others said, that's more for me than him and it's not fair.
 
Do not let them guilt you into excessive tests or treatment. What you are describing sounds like severe pancreatis. It can happen suddenly and is life threatening. It can happen easily in older pets given foods to fatty or rich including well means humans who think they are doing right by feeding them our real food. Schnauzers are extremely sensitive. We almost killed one ourselves.
 

NextJen

Raisin cane
PREMO Member
I'm sorry Apollo isn't feeling well. Sounds like you are already taking the right course of action. Hopefully the meds work and this works itself out. But if not, you already know what you have to do.
Wishing Apollo and you the best! :huggy:
 

PrchJrkr

Long Haired Country Boy
Ad Free Experience
Patron
I'm sorry Apollo isn't feeling well. Sounds like you are already taking the right course of action. Hopefully the meds work and this works itself out. But if not, you already know what you have to do.
Wishing Apollo and you the best! :huggy:
:yeahthat: :huggy:
 

black dog

Free America
PREMO Member
I agree with this and after sobbing most of yesterday I'm at peace with it if that's the way it goes. But I also don't want to be premature because once he's euthanized all second-guessing is over. He has amoxicillin for 10 days. If he doesn't show improvement in the next couple of days, I'll take him to another vet for a second opinion and make the decision from there.

Ok.. I believe I would weight him on a good digital scale to keep aneye on if hes loosing weight or not.
I also would keep an eye on his inputs and outputs, is he pooping and is his pee light or dark.
Good luck this part of The Journey is the toughest... And certainly dont question your decision.
You know what his quality of life is..
 

BadGirl

I am so very blessed
First off....I am so sorry for you, Monello, and your little jumping buddy, Apollo. Truly. :huggy:

We had a similar circumstance recently with our 12 year old doggo. She had all the attributes of a happy, healthy, and active dog....aside from the fact that she pee'd all of the time. Thankfully it was always outside. BUT, she would hold her position for peeing, but yet little to no pee would come out most of the time. She would assume the pee position for 5 minutes or so, and you could sense her anxiety about "needing" to pee, but not being able to. Come to find out, she had a cancerous tumor on her bladder. It put pressure on her bladder, leading her to think that he bladder was full - when it really wasn't. She would just stand there trying to evacuate her bladder when it was already empty. The local vet here didn't do much to investigate her condition, but we finally got the bladder cancer diagnosis when we hit up an emergency vet in Ocean City. It was there that they did a sonogram and found a sizeable tumor. We brought her home, and within a few days we scheduled her to be put down. It was a grueling decision, because, like I said, she was otherwise healthy and happy, and she continued to snuggle and give kisses, etc. But her discomfort was painful to her and to us. The morning of her euthanasia, she jumped into the back of the car with a wagging tail and a big old smile. I felt terrible. While I am confident it was the right decision, I am still plagued with guilt over not doing enough, not investing enough $$ into her care. but her age and condition made surgery unrealistic and offered little satisfaction of success.

Best of luck to you, Monello and Apollo.
 
Top